I had started imagining my future, as you do. Scrolling through Vinterior, the vintage online portal. Collagerie for ideas. Choosing paint colours.
I can own furniture again, I will have space! For the first time in 15 years, I’ve been feeling optimistic, not waking at 3am in a cold sweat.
As hunting for a house has taken so long, I’ve had to keep reapplying for a loan. And I’m not getting any younger, despite the Augustinus Bader skincare. So this morning, for what feels like the millionth time, I had to log in, and send my Experian credit report to my mortgage broker, Matthew. And I couldn’t believe my eyes. My credit score is 925 out of a possible 999. Under the section labelled Adverse events, Bankruptcy, CCJs, IVAs, it says, ‘You have no public records.’
LIZ JONES’S DIARY: I had started imagining my future, as you do. Scrolling through Vinterior, the vintage online portal. Collagerie for ideas
I am almost ‘Excellent’! All the hard work, the endless forms, the searching online and in person, the years, have finally come good. I will own a Georgian vicarage with original floors. I can buy furniture. Chairs. I will own a Vispring bed once more (I gave mine, bought for £4,000 in Selfridges many moons ago, to Nic, as I couldn’t afford storage, and the cottage I rent won’t fit a king, or even a prince)! I can get my Abigail Ahern 1920s desk out of a damp garage! I can have someone to stay! I can host Christmas, as I will have a dining room! An outhouse I will make into a snug, a firepit. I can get the bergère suite my parents left me restored!
I keep thinking, no, no, I cannot possibly be this lucky.
A Georgian vicarage for £295,000?! With a stone staircase. Original flagstones. Privacy. Safety. I will be able to breathe. I will feel in charge of my own destiny again. Own a refuge for when life gets hard. I’ve only ever been able to do a difficult, stressful job (earthquakes; interviewing women in hiding in Kabul; going to the Oscars without a ticket; learning to be a trapeze artist; visiting a refugee camp; having a face-lift and an eyebrow transplant; filing on a Boris Johnson speech with a computer too old to plug into the sockets in the press room, where the men wouldn’t even tell me where the loo was or the password for the wi-fi, as they felt so threatened by my brilliance and speed; being made to cry and stand out of the way by a wall by a PR at Donna Karan in New York; taking part in Celebrity Big Brother when I can’t even bear to look at a photo of myself – when Emma Willis showed me my ‘highlights’ on exit, I fixed my gaze on the floor) because I could self-medicate by having a lovely home. Things. It all seemed worth it. Without that, it’s really, really not.
I’ve long since failed to be impressed by seeing my name on the front page. When my piece on meeting up with my ex-husband went viral – number four on Twitter/X – I went into hiding.
And then. And then. I knew the feeling of hope was too good to last. On Monday morning, I lost a freelance job overnight – ghosting a memoir for a famous businessman – with no notice. A monthly chunk of money that would have helped pay the mortgage. I found out by accident.
I keep thinking I cannot possibly be this lucky. I will feel in charge again
I feel sick. I can’t sleep. I’m supposed to be taking supplements, eating more, but I can no longer swallow. I know that by writing this column the lender will find out, but I cannot lie to you. It’s as though the rug has been pulled from under my really lovely feet, toenails like shells. And when I think how I look after people. Nic has worked for me for 15 years, and I have fought to keep her on, despite everything, and her chronic bad health.
I know why people are rich, live in big houses, drive expensive cars. They only think of themselves. I can barely believe I have been tipped into chaos, again.